Five days. No solids. No caffeine. No chance of wine. It’s a detox alright. And it’s way overdue. After a decade of filling my body with toxins, can I change my ways?
I’ve spent the last decade sipping at least one latte a day, enjoying many bottles of red, satisfying my sweet tooth and sprinkling salt on most meals. Sure, I hit the gym a few times a week and pretty much follow the healthy eating pyramid. But it’s pretty safe to say, just like Britney, I’m toxic. So I enlisted the help of Aussie cleanse creator, Catherine Craig, who came up with the Schkinny Maninny juice detox.
Craig says you can pack a lot more goodness if you blend it up – each day on the detox is filled with 6kg of fruit and veg – that’s near impossible to swallow if you pack it on a plate. “You’re getting a lot more than a normal person would have on a day-to-day basis,” she says.
There are about 30 different juice blends on the Schkinny Maninny menu and a naturopath and nutritionist are always working on new recipes – like the goji berry-inspired smoothie.
Day one arrives and I knock back a glass of warm water with lemon juice and I’m pumped. My breakfast juice is cutely called Leap Frog and is made of spinach, cucumber, apple, kiwi and parsley. It’s thick, chlorophyll-packed and delicious. I make it through to lentil soup for lunch, but I’m struggling. Sitting at work under fluorescent lights, staring at the computer screen, my head feels fuzzy, I’m being a bit grumpy and I’m weary.
Good news is I’m not hungry. But the vending machine is calling my name and the barista beckons. I manage to stick it out. There’s a little letter that arrived this morning telling me these are all normal symptoms and I should embrace it. “Appreciate that your body is becoming younger and healthier every day because you are throwing off more wastes which would eventually have brought pain, disease and suffering,” it says. Better out than in, I guess.
I wake on day two excited to see my esky at the door. It’s fun to get deliveries. Apparently my body’s meant to get the idea that I’m trying to cleanse and my urine should be clear. Tick. I’m a bit achy and I’m craving something sweet but the delicious Fruit Punch made up of rockmelon, watermelon, orange and mint hits the spot. I’m very surprised I’m not hungry and I’m eager to make it to the half-way mark.
By day three I’m feeling good. The lemon in water each morning is a great wake-up call. Nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin says this little trick alkalises the body and increases pancreatic enzymes and bile so you can digest your food better. I’m having no trouble getting through the working day and making some clear observations about the way my body reacts to certain foods. Sipping cauliflower soup for dinner while my flatmates enjoy an aromatic curry isn’t easy but it’s nice not to feel bloated and to eat for nutrition, not out of gluttony.
Once I’m over the mid-way hump, I feel good enough to do some light exercise and stretch it out at Pilates. Come Friday, my tummy’s feeling flat, my head’s feeling clear and my yoga poses are feeling good. I’ve made it through my very first detox.
Craig admits it’s possible to reap similar rewards doing-it-yourself but having my meals delivered each morning is convenient, saving on mess and admin. The written pep talks keep me on track and inspired.
Bingley-Pullin says the daily delivery is crucial as freshness is key to cleansing. She says it’s best to try to eat well as often as you can but a dedicated detox is a good way of getting your health on track, psychologically. I have to agree. I set a week aside, pencilled it in my diary and kept the rest of my calendar free. Setting aside the week to focus on my health made it much easier to do so, and the idea is that I follow through with the good things I’ve learned and apply them day to day.
Bingley-Pullin also says a good cleanse aims to make the body more alkaline. “The more acidic the body is, the harder it is for the liver to detoxify and the gall bladder to detoxify and the kidneys to detoxify,” she says. “We take the pressure off those organs so they can do their job more efficiently.”
This means cutting out animal proteins, alcohol, caffeine, medication, refined sugar and flour, processed foods, cooking oil and dairy. She suggests trying to do this for about five days, four times a year. And a couple of times a year, try to do it for a fortnight. “(But) detoxing is not about starving the body,” she warns. “(This) will put your body under too much stress and blow out the metabolic process.”
The weekend after my detox I was on the straight and narrow, easing myself back onto solid food, as suggested. My tastebuds were sensitive and salmon tasted better than ever. I met my friends at the pub that night and beer tasted too bitter to swallow. I stuck to wine. And after five days without food, I was a lightweight.
I had begun the re-tox, but I’ve certainly observed how good my body can feel when it goes without the bad stuff. Coffee is now a rarity for me, vegie juices are on my list of favourite things and I make the time to get to a couple of yoga sessions each week.
Detox daily menu
• Start the day with a glass of warm water and squeeze of lemon juice.
• Make a smoothie with fruit, oats and nuts or an omelette with tofu.
• Morning tea should be a fresh vegetable juice – lemon, beetroot, carrot and celery is delicious.
• For lunch enjoy a homemade soup packed with vegetables, beans and fresh herbs.
• To get you through the afternoon munchies, try humus and vegetable sticks. A handful of raw, unsalted nuts is another option.
• Dinner should be fish and vegies, or more of that wholesome soup.